Democrats Are Fleeing ‘Defund The Police,’ But Can Party Leaders Change Course?
Christopher Bedford
By

The Democratic nominee for mayor of New York City launched a blitz on his party’s leadership Monday, heading first to the White House and then to a meeting with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi to bring his pro-law-and-order, anti-Defund-the-Police message to party leadership.

The meetings capped a week of constant fire for the Defund the Police wing of the left — a movement that rose from radical street activists to Congress with the rise of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her band of followers, before blasting into orbit — and policy — after the death of George Floyd.

The past week kicked off with the certified nomination of Eric Adams, who is now the favorite to succeed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. His win follows a 50 percent increase in murders between May 2019 and May 2021. Shootings are up 166 percent; rape, 53 percent. Although some in the New York Police Department have long regarded Eric Adams as a career politician rather than “a cop’s cop,” his campaign focused heavily on law and order and the deadly impact of anti-police activist plans everywhere, and especially in boroughs such as his own.

New York is not alone. “It’s a combustible fire that is getting ready to explode,” Malik Evans said more than 300 miles up the state, in Rochester, where he had defeated the incumbent for the Democrats’ mayoral nomination.

Across the country in Oakland, California, Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong was momentarily silenced by emotion as he pleaded in late June with an obstinate city council for resources to fight a 90 percent spike in murders, 88 percent increase in car-jackings, and a 70 percent rise in shootings. “These are true people,” he said. “These are people who lost their lives in this city.”

The story is the same everywhere you look, anywhere in the country that chased the “defund” theory.

Democratic Whip James Clyburn lent his voice to the fray Thursday, arguing with an MSNBC host who pushed the left-wing claim that Democratic leadership, rather than “defund,” is to blame for sharp spikes in crime. “That’s absolute poppycock,” the top South Carolina Democrat said. “I’m out here with the voters every day. I did a town hall meeting last night in Jasper County, South Carolina, and I can tell you, ‘defund the police’ is a non-starter, even with black people.”

“And if you don’t think that’s true,” he continued, “then look at the results of what just happened in New York City’s election. So the proof is in the pudding. I know what I’m talking about. I talk to people every day, and ‘defund the police’ is a chokehold around the Democratic Party.”

Back in Oakland, the southern Democrat’s claims rang true Saturday. That day, mostly black voters mourning their community’s murder victims at a “Stand Up For A Safe Oakland” rally organized by Armstrong clashed with mostly white Antifa radicals, who attempted to shout them down. “Not when black children are dying in the street everyday!” one woman yelled at the hecklers.

Clyburn is a big deal to President Joe Biden. After losing the Iowa and Nevada caucuses, and getting shut out in the New Hampshire primary, things were looking bad for a visibly aged and mentally wandering Biden before Clyburn’s endorsement, combined with a concentrated pro-Biden corporate media and Democrat National Convention campaign, pushed the former vice president to victory in South Carolina, followed by a slew of further wins and the eventual nomination. When the South Carolina congressman speaks, the White House should listen.

But their first set of solutions, meekly offered after Adams’s first-round primary win (and near-certain internal polling results), don’t quite satisfy. “Those priorities really were misplaced,” Adams told CNN Sunday, referring to a larger Democrat focus on AR rifles but still praising the president. “The numbers of those who are killed by handguns are astronomical and if we don’t start having real federal legislation, matched with states and cities, we’re never going to get this crisis under control.”

“You’re seeing a Democratic Party, basically they’ve thrown up their hands,” Adams told “CBS This Morning” on Sunday. “We’re continuing to see the same problems in our inner cities.”

But aside from the call to hire more police, the White House has no solutions that aren’t doomed, and the party’s allowance — and outright fostering — of the radical left have forced Democratic leadership into a bind. While hiring more police seems a good idea, with the Defund movement the question was never money, President Joe Biden’s stated fix. Awash in $190 million in federal funds and beset by a murderous crime spike, Oakland, for example, pushed ahead with an $18 million cut to its police less than three weeks ago.

“[One of our city leaders] referred to [the crime surge] as a ‘bump in the road,’ a ‘speed bump,'” Chief Armstrong said just after. “[W]ell for me, those speed bumps are 65 lives so far this year, victims who have suffered at the hands of violence, whether it’s shootings, robberies, car-jackings, [or] sexual assault. All of these crimes are not speed bumps — these are people.”

Back in New York, every move Adams makes is sure to provoke Ocasio-Cortez, whose voter base is in the Bronx. Back in D.C., her fan club is sure to turn the screws on Clyburn, Pelosi, and any other progressive who crosses them.

If murdered children, raped sisters, and frightened mothers in their own districts and cities won’t change their minds, how can Biden?

Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. Follow him on Twitter.

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